Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thane's World

I posted a video about Thane -- every time videos on the site are viewed, money will be donated to one of the charities. Views of Thane's World benefit Autism Speaks. Please take a look and pass along the link to friends and family!

Big Brother

I know I post more about Thane – in part because I spend more time with him since Braeden is in school all day and then often is playing with friends in the afternoon.

Braeden is a pretty amazing and wonderful kid. It is the seemingly little things that add up to my thinking he has to be one of the best big brothers a little boy could have. Whether it is stopping what he is doing to help Thane for a moment, putting himself between Thane and the stone wall so he wouldn’t get hurt (and injuring himself a bit in the process), or sharing the last of his French fries, Braeden is an excellent nurturer.

I hope they always love each other as much as they do today!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Laughing at Life

Sometimes you just have to laugh – not that it is always easy to manage.

Today I was trying to run a little ahead of schedule. I had agreed to help out at Braeden’s school with Friday activities and take a bunch of kids bowling. I needed to get out the door, drop Thane off, and then go right to Riley.

Thane had other ideas. He had to have blue pants. He was not going to wear the brown ones in my hand. He needed round crackers in his snack, no rectangles. The mess I made while digging for denim overalls is unreal – and I ended up getting them out of the laundry! He wouldn’t wear his rain boots either. If I tried to force the issue he would have been puddle so it just wasn’t worth it.

Dropping him off at school went fine – he was happy to be there and ran in and hugged the first teacher he saw.

I went over to Riley and waited. The teacher told me it might be a little later than 12:45 – it was closer to 1 p.m. I think there actually were kids filling then entire age span of 4 years to 14 years. They all behaved very nicely – the older ones helping the younger ones and such.

I ran out toward the end to get Thane from school and then back to the bowling alley to take kids back to Riley. It was overwhelming for Thane, but he was very cute. He was jumping and flapping. He saw his big brother and shouted “Bwaden” at the top of his lungs. Thane got hugs from Braeden and one of his buddies, and then they tried to show Thane how to bowl. I should have had my camera!

It turns out that Thane is the perfect bowling partner – he doesn’t get in the way at all. He thinks the balls should be rolled right down the gutter, so he didn’t even really need his own turn. Every time he released a gutter ball he would jump up and down, flap a bit, and then clap his hands for himself. He was cheering the other kids too saying things like “Way to go!” It’s always interesting to me when he goes from a bear in the morning to a complete charmer later in the day.

What started out as a pretty crazy day was actually rather fun. It was nice to spend some time with kids from Braeden’s school – especially since I got some extra time with him! And it was nice to see that Thane handled being over-stimulated pretty well. When he is so happy and bouncy, he can make pretty much even the grumpiest grouch smile. He protested at first when we told him it was all done, but since all the other kids were getting their shoes on, he just grabbed my hand and headed for the door – calling for Braeden and his friends to come too. I wish it was always so easy . . . or at least predictable as to when it will be easy and when it won’t be!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dramatic Change

We have another very dramatic change here. Braeden has gone from looking rather like a small teenager a couple of weeks ago:

to looking rather young again today . . .

Misty still loves him and recognized him . . . though there was a parade of kids at school saying "You cut your hair!!!"

Thane's got cut a few days ago, but it isn't half as dramatic!

I did tell Braeden it was rather nice to see him again, even though I liked the way it framed his face when it was long. It was a bit too much work for him to keep up with. I have to admit I had forgotten that his hair falls differently on one side than the other, so his hair never looks even in the front when it is short -- when it was long it wasn't as obvious because he would kind of part it there.

Now he's thinking of making it red -- blood red. A few years ago I think I might have objected, but I like that he is comfortable with himself and does what he wants. Independent thinking is good!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Cute!?!

Thane walked into my office last night and said, "Mama, you're cute!" It totally threw me, but it sure made me smile.

Now we have a blue castle hanging from the ceiling in my office to go with the hammock swing . . . oh, and a ball pit in the corner. I think I understand why people have therapy rooms. Here, it is the whole house!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Such Progress

After watching several of the videos on What Kind of World Do You Want? I was debating compiling something similar about Thane. I was looking through pictures and videos of my family and what really stood how to me is how incredibly far he has come in the past year. He’s a huge argument, in my opinion, for that fact that diet changes can really change some children.

I wouldn’t say that Thane is “cured” of his autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, but the change is very dramatic.

Last year if a plane flew overhead while we were outside, he would run screaming and flapping his hands, maybe even start crying. This year he signs “listen” and asks us, “You hear that?”

A year ago he was a very sleepy little boy who was often cranky because he couldn’t get his point across. Now he is much more awake, much more cheerful, and his communication is light years beyond where it was. He spoke a 10-word original sentence! It wasn’t from some TV show or a line from a book, it was totally his. He was upset with big brother Braeden and he let him know it, and why!

He’s better able to comfort himself, or let others know what he needs. As parents, we had a sweet aw moment when Thane went over and just wrapped his arms around Braeden, and Braeden wrapped his around Thane and held him. Thane knew just what he needed for comfort and Braeden knew just how to help.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blurry Days

I probably post too many pictures of my kids, especially since they are often kind of blurry, but I like this one I caught of Thane while he was asking (and signing) swing out in the front yard today.

Oh, and we tried out the $20 hammock chair from Nicuaragua last night. Thane liked it, other than finding it harder to get out of. Braeden and Dave like it too. I wonder if we will end up with hammocks hanging all over the house?!?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Potty PECS

I worked on picture schedules yesterday and only finished one for brushing teeth. This morning I made a new one for Thane using the potty:

The child appears to share a warped sense of humor with his family! He peed on the potty -- half sitting, half standing (I didn't even know how to begin drawing that!). Then he backed off and stuck his head in the potty. His whole head. In a potty chair! (Not a full-size toilet.)

Unfortunately, I don't have the "Parent's shouldn't laugh" thing down yet. He started trying to put his head in and I started cracking up, as did Dave. The more we told him no, the deeper he put his head, just tempting the pee to soak into his hair. Then he stood up dripping from his bangs.

So today's question is: Which is more warped? A) Sticking your head in your potty after peeing in it? or B) Mommy thinking she is very funny making a picture schedule with a frame for "no head in toilet," or C) The fact that Mommy looks at the joke schedule and thinks she left out pulling up pants and is having to resist changing it because it wouldn't seem as funny to her?

Or maybe it should be D) The fact that I actually did edit it some after I posted it!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bye-bye Tomatoes

Our latest experiment has been tomatoes . . . they aren't in Thane's diet often, but I started getting suspicious of a reaction a month or so ago. So he has gone a couple of weeks without and tonight he had some tomato sauce. He got that slapped cheeks look and then was wiggy hyper. Braeden was kind of hyper too, but he often is extra active in the evening.

I spent a good chunk of today downloading software, finding pictures, editing pictures, and trying to create picture schedules for Thane. The only one I completed was for brushing teeth. I think Thane probably does get all his issues from me since it took me hours to get it just right!

Or so I though . . . until I printed it . . .

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Take a Minute

This video made me cry. At least I hear an approximation of "I love you," but those charming kisses you see in the video are a rarity at my house. Someone posted that Five for Fighting is donating 49¢ to Autism Speaks every time the video is viewed. Pass it along!

And if you want to see one more face of a child on the autism spectrum, scroll down . . . he's my very precious little boy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Yard

All in all, things were pretty mild here -- not like the houses that fell into the sea!

Some tree limbs came down -- some had already been removed from the road by the time I took this picture.

The lower part of our lawn always becomes a bit of a pond for some part of spring.

Braeden took the time to make sure all skateboards, scooters, bikes, etc., were put into this plastic shed before the storm so that they would stay dry, but the wind sheared the top right off of it. It didn't just come apart, it isn't fixable so we have to figure something else out.

Thane was bothered by this. His playhouse flipped over, exposing a bunch of his trucks. All of his trucks that were on the porch were blown onto the ground. He handled it pretty well, but was definitely offended.

I have more pictures -- we have some broken fence, other of these plastic climbers that blew over, and some stuff like that. All things considered, we were very lucky!

Spring in Maine

Ahhh, it’s spring in Maine. We’re having lovely weather – rain and wind, and more rain, and more wind . . .

I got up yesterday and had scheduled some blood work for Patriot’s Day because Dave would be home from work and I wouldn’t have to take Thane in – the doctor’s office terrifies him! I did take Braeden and we headed into town, very slowly because we had to drive around downed limbs and such. There was no flooding on our road yet, but later in the day we were somewhat closed off at both ends.

There was flooding in all sorts of weird spots – places I haven’t seen flood in the 20 years I have lived here. I headed across Route One to go into town, only to have to turn around as the major route through town was closed off because of downed trees. I went to the next major road and turned, only to find that the Medomak River was at high tide and most of the road was submerged. I waited my turn and drove on the wrong side of the road where I could still see pavement.

After I finally was able to get to West Main Street, I got my labs drawn and headed to Newcastle – after confirming that the orthodontist’s office still had power. Downtown Damariscotta was blocked to traffic as bricks were flying off the chimney of one of the older buildings, so we avoided downtown completely.

It was Braeden’s first visit to the orthodontist. He is going to need braces, but it sounds like it won’t be as bad as we thought. They sometimes start young, but he got his teeth late and the orthodontist wants to watch his teeth and put in come spacers after some molars come out. It sounds like we’ll be going in every 6-9 months until he gets braces. He’s happy not to have them now!

We then called a friend of Braeden’s to see if we could grab him from Newcastle and take him home with us. We drove down toward Boothbay on the River Road and had to go around flooding, downed trees, and someone’s stockade fencing that collapsed into the road. We got there and a tree had fall across their driveway. We picked up the boy and left, getting home just fine. The only damage here is a roof sheared off our bike storage shed and our basketball hoop is face down in the driveway turnaround.

Our guest called home at about 5 to learn there was no power and the road to his house might be closed. Along with his parents, we decided it was probably safer and easier for him to stay here for the night. This morning we learned that his road is closed and his mother had to walk a mile and half out to get to work. I read last night that a lot of people down there way may be out of power for as many as four days. Not fun!

Meanwhile, Braeden continues to be in high demand. I was never so popular! It’s a scheduling nightmare! I agreed to have a child come here on Thursday since the mom needs to work, but now I have had two other requests for Thursday and some for Friday. It is supposed to stay wet all week, but the water is receding as far as the flooding goes.

The local newspaper says it is the worst storm since the 1998 ice storm. I found a couple of slideshows showing the storm and aftermath. More directly local is the harbor where we keep the Moon Rise.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Swinging Honey

The last home visit we had from one of Thane’s teacher included discussion of problems soothing him lately. It seems like we may have just been in a particularly bad cycle for some reason . . . anyway, we discussed how Thane really likes to be outside, and some of his meltdowns have been about having to go to school rather than playing in the yard. We already have a slide in our living room, but he has decided that swinging is great fun.

The teacher suggested that since we have exposed ceiling beams in our 1824 farmhouse here, that maybe a chair hammock would be good, so we got him one. My house must be an occupational therapist's heaven – trampoline in the library, slide in the living room, swing in the office . . . But Thane loves his new hammock!

After I took his picture a few times (hard to catch a swinging kid with a digital camera), he wanted to see me in the camera. He took it from me and was moving it around. When he couldn't see my face, he would ask "Where's my honey?" – too cute!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The boys have been cute today. Braeden was very patient with his little brother – he even handed over his entire bag of collected eggs because Thane really liked the bright eggs.

It reminded me that when Thane was only a year old he was so taken with the plastic eggs that he played with them for months after Easter. It’s kind of like the joke about toddlers preferring the box the toy came in to the toy itself. I remember thinking it was unusual, but looking back it is so much easier to see when some of the patterns emerged.

I watched Oprah’s show on autism – it’s autism awareness month – and found myself irritated that while it mentioned that it is a spectrum, there was no child whose disability is nearly invisible. It would have been nice to show that end of the spectrum. I recorded the MTV special, but haven’t watched it yet. I’m told that one shows more variety among the individual stories told.

We had fun doing our egg hunt at home. Braeden and Dave saw a movie together while Thane and I stayed home. Then we all had dinner together – sort of. Thane didn’t stay at the table, but he did join us for awhile. I not on my regular computer, but I hope to upload some pictures this week sometime.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Trophy

I got a picture of the awards today -- Braeden is on the left, holding his first place trophy. The other picture is of him in one of his races. He's on the right in that one.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fools

Thane has decided that the big kid's playground is just right for him -- he completely ignores the area for little ones. He decided at the end that he prefers the tallest slide of them all, and circular slide. I thought his hair was pretty funny!